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  1. #1
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    Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis

    I have just finished this one (April 13 debut US) and it was awesome; I will write a more detailed mini-review soon, but it's a novel that can appeal to fans of sf, fantasy and horror since it has elements of all.

    The cover:



    The blurb:

    "It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man gets caught in between

    Raybould Marsh is a British secret agent in the early days of the Second World War, haunted by something strange he saw on a mission during the Spanish Civil War: a German woman with wires going into her head who looked at him as if she knew him.

    When the Nazis start running missions with people who have unnatural abilities—a woman who can turn invisible, a man who can walk through walls, and the woman Marsh saw in Spain who can use her knowledge of the future to twist the present—Marsh is the man who has to face them. He rallies the secret warlocks of Britain to hold the impending invasion at bay. But magic always exacts a price. Eventually, the sacrifice necessary to defeat the enemy will be as terrible as outright loss would be.

    Alan Furst meets Alan Moore in the opening of an epic of supernatural alternate history, the tale of a twentieth century like ours and also profoundly different."



    A+ to A++ (gotta leave it a little to see how it settles); this one fits the "mainstream fantastic" category better than core-sf or core-fantasy since it's a sort of alternate history with a little bit of supernatural at the beginning that turns into a lot as the novel goes on, great, great characters, some action scenes that are just unbelievable - Nazi "supermen" and their support troops against British warlocks and their special troops - while the ending just left me wanting the next installment asap

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by suciul View Post
    "It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man gets caught in between
    That was enough for me to add it to my wish list

  3. #3
    Lord of the Wild Hunt Mithfânion's Avatar
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    Was on my to-buy list last year already when Daniel Abraham was hailing Tregillis as the best upcoming writer.

    Premise sounded really interesting. It's a trilogy btw.

    Suciul, I'd like to know what supermen and what sort of magic ( demons, maybe angels as well) is shown, what their abilities are, side from what little is mentioned in the blurb.

  4. #4
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    I will put some stuff in spoiler brackets - though the essence of the novel is:

    "Alan Furst meets Alan Moore in the opening of an epic of supernatural alternate history, the tale of a twentieth century like ours and also profoundly different."

    as a big fan of Alan Furst that was one important selling line for me, while there was a comment of the author that this novel is not a pastiche like some well known similarly sounding novels that are just boring, geeky and so not for me, and that i mentioned in my FBC post about this one as in "better not be like that"

    There are also lots of cool touches like the British super-spy that organizes "Milkweed" the agency to combat/use supernatural and after which the series is called, is named Stephenson (Intrepid!!), there are Red Orchestra agents around, some Nazi chiefs have cameo appearances, but most of all the novel is of characters, intrigue, some battles and the price of victory, so very Alan Furst like with of course the supernatural playing a more and more important role as the novel progresses - another great touch here, since as all history teaches, once a weapon is invented or discovered as here is the case, it gets refined, improved, nothing stays static and nowhere is that better shown than under the pressures of war

    Spoiler:
    The Germans have several "science" based supermen, each with some power like those mentioned in the blurb with several more addition like twin telepaths, a burning man, a retarded man with just pure brute force, but the crucial ones are Gretel the "seer" and her brother Klaus the "ghost" who are of gypsy origins in Nazi Germany of all places - Klaus is the main pov on the German side
    The British tap some superbeings - Eidolons - that seem to form the essence of the universe and are described as pure will and quite disliking humanity but being so powerful and all seeing they cannot see humans, the way you cannot see an ant in an anthill; they can be contacted by blood since that's the one thing they seem to latch on and they bargain sacrifices against services; as the war intensifies, both escalate...

  5. #5
    Lord of the Wild Hunt Mithfânion's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, seems really interesting.

    I'm going back and forth on the Ian Whates book as well btw.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithfânion View Post
    Thanks for that, seems really interesting.

    I'm going back and forth on the Ian Whates book as well btw.
    The City Dreams is a fun book, Bitter Seeds is an awesome one, but both are very entertaining; though to be honest while I am definitely looking forward to the City Hope in the Fall and will read it the moment the e-arc is released, I was upset that Bitter Seeds ended since I so wanted more....

  7. #7
    Registered User Scrambles's Avatar
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    Sounds interesting, will check it out when it comes.

  8. #8
    Registered User SeaBeast's Avatar
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    Wow, sounds intriguing! I just added it to my short list, gonna have to check this one out ASAP. Normally not a big fan of historical/parallel fantasy, but this one sounds like something I'd like

  9. #9
    http://tinyurl.com/363ogv DurzoBlint's Avatar
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    I'm game, the plot sounds interesting and all of the mainstream "big" releases have been a real downer. Have not been impressed with any of them so far. Added it to my BD.com wishlist, once pay day comes around I will probably order it along with a few other books on the list.

  10. #10
    I like to rock the party Corporal Blues's Avatar
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    Ugh, I'm quite intrigued by this book, but I cant afford Hardback editions, so I'm probably gonna have to wait a while before I can read this one. The one upside to that is I can hear all your reactions and opinions on it before I buy it.

  11. #11
    Lord of the Wild Hunt Mithfânion's Avatar
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    I bought this in hardcover and just wanted to chime in to say that this is one of the better new books in 2010 as far as I'm concerned. Some simply excellent writing from Tregillis, in that sense I have to say that the positive advance word from say GRRM or Daniel Abraham has been absolutely correct; this guy can write. I am happy that book II, The Coldest War, has been scheduled for February 2011, 10 months after the April release of Bitter Seeds.

    I see Rob has a more extensive review here:

    http://www.sffworld.com/brevoff/638.html

  12. #12
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Glad to see you liked it too, Mithf. This is really at the top of the 2010 releases for me.

  13. #13
    http://tinyurl.com/363ogv DurzoBlint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithfânion View Post
    I bought this in hardcover and just wanted to chime in to say that this is one of the better new books in 2010 as far as I'm concerned. Some simply excellent writing from Tregillis, in that sense I have to say that the positive advance word from say GRRM or Daniel Abraham has been absolutely correct; this guy can write. I am happy that book II, The Coldest War, has been scheduled for February 2011, 10 months after the April release of Bitter Seeds.

    I see Rob has a more extensive review here:

    http://www.sffworld.com/brevoff/638.html
    I am in full agreement with you on this one. Great book and the fact that we don't have to wait very long for the next in the series is a huge plus. Since he whipped us through the majority of the war, I am curious as to where he will be taking us next. Either way I will be there to see how it turns out. On of the best books I have read this year as well.

  14. #14
    Seven Mary Four Glelas's Avatar
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    Its hard to find in the mainstream bookstores by me (Borders and Barnes & Noble) for some reason.

    I will probably order it on my Kindle but this could be one I may want in book-form most likely hardcover.

  15. #15
    Just order it online. . .

    Top speculative fiction debut of 2010 in my book.

    Patrick

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